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Defense Issues Weekly: Arms Control Association nothing more than a leftist propaganda group

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Russia continues building up its nuke arsenal

Russia continues to steadily build up and modernize its strategic and tactical nuclear arsenal, in line with the stated wishes of Russian leaders and Moscow’s current nuclear doctrine.

That doctrine prioritizes nuclear weapons above all others in Russia’s arsenal, makes them the basis of Russia’s security and superpower status, treats the US and its NATO allies as enemies, and allows the Russian military to use nuclear weapons first, even if the adversary doesn’t use them or if the opponent is a non-nuclear state.

Russia is currently modernizing all three legs of its nuclear triad. The ICBM force – the Strategic Missile Forces – is developing several new ICBM types simoultaneously. One is the “Son of Satan”, a new heavy ICBM intended to replace the SS-18 Satan (R-36M) – the most powerful ICBM ever fielded on Earth, with capacity to carry 10 powerful warheads and up to 28 decoys and other countermeasures.

Another is the Avangard, although it is not clear what that ICBM is. Another is a rail-mobile ICBM under development. A fourth new ICBM type, the Yars-M, is currently in production in both the silo-based and the mobile version. Finally, a fifth one, a “pseudo-ICBM” with a planned range of 6,000 kms, is being developed to circumvent the INF Treaty. Russia currently has 434 ICBMs.

The Russian Air Force has resumed production of modern, supersonic Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and is now developing a next generation bomber, scheduled to enter service in 2020. Concurrently, Russia is modernizing its older Tu-95 and Tu-22M bombers.

The Russian Navy has begun receiving next-gen Borei class ballistic missile submarines. Eight are on order.

The Russian tactical nuclear arsenal is undergoing significant modernization, too. Among the new delivery systems entering service are the Su-34 tactical bomber, the Su-35 Flanker multirole aircraft, and the SS-26 Stone short-range ballistic missile.

Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal – vastly bigger than America’s – is not bound by any treaty limits or inspections, and its strategic nuclear arsenal is slated to grow, not shrink, unlike that of the US.

Under the New START treaty, which the Democrats and liberal Republicans such as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz hailed as good for US national security, only the US is obligated to cut its nuclear arsenal – by one third. Russia is allowed (and accordingly continues) to grow its own arsenal. Then-Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov promised in the Russian parliament that not one Russian warhead or delivery system would be cut, and the Defense Ministry has kept that promise.

Also, the treaty has a very weak verification regime and does not, in any way, limit the number of ICBMs Russia can field, nor does it prohibit Russia to field road- or rail-mobile ICBMs (Russia already has the former and is developing the latter). Under the old START treaty, rail-mobile missiles were prohibited. Also, the treaty doesn’t count Tu-22M bombers as strategic, even though they are.

In short, the treaty gives Russia a lopsided advantage, which Moscow is only too eager to exploit.

Under current plans, Russia’s inventory of ICBMs and bombers will grow, as new bombers join the fleet and older ones are modernized, and ballistic missile submarines’ warhead delivery capacity will be increased with “Liner” missiles.

The only side cutting its nuclear arsenal in this treaty – indeed, anywhere in the world outside Britain – is the US. Despite the Obama administration’s publicly articulated goal of “Global Zero”, nobody is following the US.

Arms Control Association receives funding from extremist groups

The Arms Control Association (ACA), a liberal group founded in 1971 to promote arms control treaties and policies, receives generous funding from a panoply of leftist groups every year. This means that ACA, which claims to be an objective association conducting “research” and presenting “information” to policymakers and the public, is effectively a mouthpiece for extremely leftist groups seeking the unilateral disarmament of the United States.

These groups include the Ploughshares Fund, an organization whose explicit aim is to eliminate the US nuclear arsenal (and nuclear weapons worldwide, the problem being that no one is following the United States’ unilateral disarmament “example”), as well as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which advocates leftist policies on issues ranging from disarmament to “reproductive health” (i.e. abortion), to “community development”, to “international migration”.

ACA’s financial sponsors also include the Carnegie Corporation of New York – which has been advocating pacifism, the appeasement of America’s enemies and America’s disarmament for a long time – and the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, which also advocates America’s complete and unilateral disarmament (as well as unlimited abortion rights).

Other ACA sponsors include the Colombe Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Prospect Hill Foundation, and the New Land Foundation. All of these organizations support America’s and global disarmament as well as a panoply of other liberal policies. The Colombe Foundation states explicitly on its website:

“Colombe Foundation seeks to create a peaceful world through changes in American foreign policy.”

This implies that the US is an aggressor and a threat to world peace.

It further states that:

Colombe Foundation supports organizations working for a shift from wasteful military spending to investments in programs that create real national security grounded in meeting human and environmental needs.  It further supports organizations that advocate for foreign policy that is balanced with diplomacy and prevention rather than dominated by Cold War threats, war and aggression.”

The Prospect Hill Foundation’s website states:

“The Foundation makes grants in four program areas: Environment, Nuclear Disarmament & Nonproliferation, Reproductive Health and Justice, and Criminal Justice; and additionally supports the philanthropic interests and activities of Beinecke family members through Sponsored Grants in the areas of arts and culture, environmental conservation, civic affairs, social services and educational institutions.”

Besides the ACA, the PH foundation also supports many other pro-nuclear-disarmament groups in the US, including the NRDC, the UCS, and the ISIS.

House defense authorization bill takes shape

The annual defense authorization bill is taking shape in the House, as all HASC subcommittees have released their marks and the full committee prepares to do so.

The bill would deny the DOD the authority to carry out significant, overdue reforms for which the DOD has repeatedly requested authorization: healthcare and retirement programs reform, retirement of excess aircraft, and base closure.

The bill would, at the same time, preserve the seven cruisers and two amphibious ships the Navy wants to retire while the cruisers still have 20 years of service life remaining; fully fund the next generation bomber, jammer, drone, and missile programs; fully fund the nuclear triad, aircraft carriers, surface combatants, and submarines; and give the DOD funding and authorization for most other programs it has asked for.

Nonetheless, the refusal to authorize reforms proposed by the DOD will cost the Department additional billions of dollars every year. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment has warned that unless such reforms are implemented, personnel pay and benefits will consume the entire defense budget by FY2039.

China conducts massive cyber attack, steals weapon designs

On Tuesday, May 28th, the Washington Post and the Washington Free Beacon reported a massive Chinese cyberattack which occurred in the last few weeks and resulted in the theft of the designs and specifications for dozens of major US weapon systems, including the F-35 and F/A-18 strike jets, the PATRIOT, THAAD, and Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, and the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. This will save China tens of billions in development costs while also enabling it to defeat US missile defense systems.

A separate recent report has concluded that, overall, Chinese hacking costs the US 300 billion dollars annually in lost intellectual property.

The attack was conducted by Chinese military hackers, who conduct smaller-scale, but very frequent, attacks on US government networks daily.

However, the US government still denies that any crippling attack has happened or that China is a potential adversary who should be confronted – despite pleas from even some Democrats, such as SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), to confront China about its cyberattacks on the US. Pentagon spokesman George Little said that “We maintain full confidence in our weapon systems” and denied that anything calamitous had happened.

Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, an Obama appointee, still wishes to pursue “cooperation” with China on countering cyberattacks and securing cybernetworks and continues to believe in moral equivalence between the US and China.

Efforts to defend US cybernetworks are seriously hampered by a lack of any legislation on the matter, standards of data protection, and enabling of seamless sharing of information between industry and the government. To redress these problems, the House has passed a cyberbill this year and in 2012, but the Senate, led by Harry Reid, has failed to act. President Obama has issued an executive order, but an EO is not a law, can apply to federal executive agencies only, and the Obama EO only increases the regulatory burden on industry while failing to actually redress the above-mentioned problems.

Large American Pork Producer Sold to Chinese

Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods (SFD.N) entered an agreement with China’s Shuanghui International for a $4.7 billion, all-cash buyout.

Smithfield has been under pressure from it’s largest shareholder, Continental Grains, to break into multiple companies and increase its dividend. The meat producer opted to sell out to foreign interests.

The deal will likely lead to an increased flow of American-grown pork to the Asian nation. A change that could impact pork and pork product prices at home.

Smithfield, the largest producer of pork in the world, operates processing facilities in North Carolina and several countries throughout the world.

The deal will require Federal Trade Commission approval.

Defense Issues Weekly – May 28th

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NOTE: From this edition forward, Defense Issues Weekly will appear on weekdays. This week, it will appear on Tuesday, and afterwards, it will appear on Mondays.

US on course to gut its military…

With sequestration in effect and no prospect of it being cancelled, the DOD will have to cut an additional $550 bn from its budget over the next decade on top of all the defense cuts already implemented or mandated. Accordingly, the DOD is now devising three budgetary plans for three different contingencies.

The first assumes that only $100 bn per decade in cuts is implemented, i.e. that Congress accepts Barack Obama’s budget proposal. The second assumes $300 bn, and the third $500 bn in cuts over the next decade.

Under the first scenario, the Army would take the biggest hits, mostly in force structure. Under the second and third, all services would have to make deep cuts in their size, modernization programs, and mission readiness alike. DOD officials have privately conceded to DefenseNews.com that should the full $500 bn cuts of the sequester hit the Department, the military would be severely weakened and would not be able to defeat a major adversary, let alone a peer competitor (such as China or Russia).

$500 bn in additional budgetary cuts would also mean the military won’t get the promised and badly needed equipment and munitions to prevail in theaters where access is denied by the enemy with anti-access/area-denial weapons and where the free use of the airspace, the sea, cyberspace, and outer space is in danger. This means no new bombers, cruise missiles, carrier-capable drones, or other crucial weapons needed to prevail in such environments – which are becoming more common every day.

DefenseNews.com reports that:

“If the second option — the $300 billion cut — were put in place, the cuts would be levied against all the services.

The third option assumes full sequestration, or $500 billion over the decade. Sources with insight into the SCMR say this option would wreak the most havoc on the military and force the cancellation or scaling back of several major acquisition efforts.

These sources also said the magnitude of the cut could prevent the military from being able to fight a major war against a near peer competitor.”

Also, by the end of May, four Washington think-tanks – the CSBA, the CNAS, the AEI, and the CSIS – intend to present their own plans on how to cut defense spending by the amount required by sequestration. These presentations will attempt to lull the public into thinking that such deep defense cuts can be done safely, without jeopardizing national security or any key mission of the military.

While 62% of all Americans oppose further defense cuts and believe the defense budget is either “about right” or inadequate, and even though the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats oppose sequestration, there is little prospect of the issue being resolved. The two sides vehemently disagree on how to solve the problem, with Republicans opposing any new tax hikes and Democrats advocating a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts. Both sides have firmly entrenched in their positions and neither side is willing to blink first.

Also, both parties are being held hostage by extremists on both sides of the spectrum who oppose any compromise and believe sequestration is sacred and should stay on the books.

Already prior to sequestration, the military had to make significant cuts, from cancelling programs to retiring hundreds of aircraft, multiple surface combatants and amphibious ships, and 80,000 troops. These cuts would have to be several orders of magnitude deeper if sequestration were to stay on the books.

At present, the US Navy has only 284 commissioned ships – the fewest since 1915 and able to supply only 59% of combatant commanders’ requirements – while the Air Force is flying the oldest and smallest fleet of aircraft in its entire history, with average aircraft age at over 24 years. Moreover, most USAF bombers, tankers, airlifters, and fighters are much older.

The Marines are poised to decline to 182,000 troops, the fewest since the 1950s, even without sequestration, but with sequestration, the USMC would shrink to only 150,000 troops, the fewest since the late 1940s. The US nuclear arsenal, at just 5,000 warheads, is over 75% smaller than 20 years ago.

…and so is France

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The French government is also in the process of deeply cutting the country’s military, further weakening it after deep cuts implemented by President Sarkozy (2007-2012) (photographed above).

After the newest cuts – outlined in the White Paper on Defense released on April 29th – are fully implemented, the French Army will have only 7 brigades and only 200 tanks. Its fleet of lighter combat vehicles, helicopters, and other platforms also faces significant cuts.

The French Navy will not get the second aircraft carrier that President Sarkozy promised in 2007 nor a fourth amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class. After the 2 ageing air-defense frigates (destroyers) of the Cassard class are retired without replacement, the Navy will have only 2 destroyers for air defense. The frigate fleet will also shrink, from 18 to 15, while second-rate frigates will be reclassified as first-rate ones. It will shrink further as ageing vessels leave service, because only 8 new frigates (FREMM class) will be built – not the 11 planned just a few years ago, or the 17 originally planned.

The planned air-defense frigate type (FREDA) will not be built.

Yet, the deepest cuts will fall on the already-overstretched French Air Force, the world’s oldest. It currently has only 226 combat aircraft (Rafale, Mirage 2000, Mirage F1), but will have to cut that to a paltry 180 per the newest defense cuts. The entire French military will have only 225 combat aircraft (mostly Rafales and Mirage 2000s; the remaining Mirage F1s will be retired). This is another steep cut in combat power for an Air Force already deeply cut since 2000 (when it had 382 combat aircraft) and 2006 (when it had 330). The previous President, Nicolas Sarkozy, allowed the French Air Force and Navy combined to have only 300 combat aircraft.

The Air Force’s tanker fleet will also shrink, from 14 to 12. Thus, the FAF will see the fleets of its two most important aircraft types – multirole fighters and tankers – shrink at the very time when these aircraft types are playing the lead roles in France’s wars, from Afghanistan to Libya to Mali, where France doesn’t have any local airbases and has had to fly combat missions (performed by the very multirole fighters the government wants to cut, of course) from metropolitan France through Algerian airspace with aerial refueling on the way.

Likewise, the order for A400M airlifters has been cut from 70 to 50.

France’s Malian operation has revealed a shortage of tankers and airlifters, which France has had to ask the US and Britain for, but the French government remains stubborn in cutting the Air Force.

For overseas operations, France will be able to contribute only 15,000 troops in total, backed up by one amphibious assault ship and a dozen fighters. This means that, as retired French generals have admitted, France will be able to conduct only small-scale operations overseas, and in coalition expeditionary operations, it won’t be able to offer more than a symbolic contribution.

Russia exports A2/AD arms worldwide

Russia has stepped up its exports of anti-access/area-denial weapons – such as air defense systems and anti-ship missiles – worldwide, particularly to nations unfriendly to the US, as the US ponders how to counter such weapons while its own defense budget is shrinking rapidly.

Russia has recently decided – despite US and Israeli protests – to sell advanced S-300 air defense systems and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles and launchers to Syria, whose government is battling a Sunni Islamic insurgency and fears a Western or Israeli intervention.

The sale follows Moscow’s earlier decision, though not yet inked in a firm contract, to supply 24 Su-35 multirole fighters (with a combat radius of 1,000 nm and thrust-vectoring-capable engines), supersonic TVC engines for China’s domestically-produced fighters, S-400 (SA-21) air defense systems (with a range of 400 kms), and the Tu-22M bomber production line (China plans to build 36 of these aircraft) to Beijing, which has already built a massive, impressive network of A2/AD weapons, mostly supplied by Russia and threatening America’s ability to project power in the Western Pacific.

Russia has also sold S-300 air defense (SAM) systems, Kilo class submarines, and Su-30MKV multirole fighters to Venezuela and has been sued by Iran in international courts to deliver the S-300 systems it had promised to Tehran.

The S-300 and S-400 systems are more capable than the PATRIOT and render the airspace protected by them firmly closed to nonstealthy aircraft and missiles, as do upgraded legacy Soviet air defense systems such as the SA-6 and SA-11/17.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130519/DEFREG02/305190007/DoD-Examines-3-Budget-Cut-Scenarios

HumanEvents is now officially a leftist, anti-defense magazine

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A Reagan picture produced by the Heritage Foundation.

Over the last few years, HumanEvents has repeatedly published garbage anti-defense screeds by professional blowhards, but usually it’s been just Pat Buchanan and, occassionally, Byron York – two well-known blowhards.

Now, however, HumanEvents is officially a leftist, anti-defense magazine, having just published its newest anti-defense screed, written by Steven Greenhut.

In it, the author tries to paint the US military – the defender of this country and its most respected institution – in the same light as the IRS, the oppressive federal tax collecting agency. What exactly distastes him about the military?

That it wants to be… the world’s strongest and a team of “warriors.”

Oh my goodness, what a terrible threat to US civil liberties! The US military wants to be the strongest in the world and wants to make recruits into “warriors”! Panic!

Greenhut objects to the Army (and its “Soldiers’ Creed”) calling soldiers “warriors”; he claims this is a militarist term and proof of America’s Spartan-like “militarization”. He even agrees with extremely leftist Associated Press reporter Robert Fisk calling it “militarization”:

“A few years ago, the Associated Press’ Robert Fisk reported on the rewriting of the U.S. Army’s rewriting of the “Soldier’s Creed.” It had long been a simple ethical statement in which soldiers vowed to protect our nation, live up to the highest ideals, and not disgrace the uniform. The Army rewrote it into a creed of the “warrior,” in which America’s soldiers vowed to “never accept defeat” as they destroy the nation’s enemies.

I don’t always agree with Fisk’s politics, but he was dead-on in complaining about a subtle shift in America from honoring our military and its necessary role to a more Sparta-like embrace of militarism.”

But the truth is, the Army has always, since the beginning of the Republic, considered its soldiers “warriors” and trained it to be such. Ditto the Marines, who have always led a Spartan lifestyle since their founding in 1775, as anyone who has served in the Corps knows.

The US military – like every other serious military in the world, unlike those of Europe – trains its troops to be warriors, not girly-men, smoothtalkers, or kid glove users. War ain’t beanbag.

(BTW, folks, you know what the British Army’s standard Infantry Fighting Vehicle is called? The “Warrior”.)

Greenhut objects to the US Navy calling itself “a global force for good”. He also condemns its statement that the power of every nation is measured in part based upon its Navy, so the USN wants to be the strongest in the world:

“I recently spotted billboard ads from the U.S. Navy, which proclaimed: “A Global Force for Good.” I perused the Navy’s Web page dedicated to the ad campaign, and there wasn’t a word on it about protecting freedom. I found the lingo a little creepy: “The strength and status of any nation can be measured in part by the will and might of its navy. … As the largest, most versatile, most capable naval force on the planet today, America’s Navy epitomizes this idea.””

Oh my gosh! Heaven forbid that America have the largest, most versatile, most capable navy in the world!

But doesn’t every self-respecting nation in the world want to have a strong, world-class, globally-capable navy – perhaps even the strongest in the world? Don’t China, Russia, India, France, and Britain want to have such?

Moreover, having a strong army composed of real warriors (as opposed to girly men) and a large, globally-capable navy is a prerequisite to being secure and and enjoying peace, as Ronald Reagan (quoted above) said eloquently many times, and as history has proven hundreds of times.

Yet Greenhut’s biggest lie is his utterly false claim that Republicans are protecting the defense budget, not willing to cut any program, not even entitlements, and objecting even to “modest” cuts in the defense budget. (He claims sequestration would be a “modest” cut). He even claims Republicans actually want to grow defense spending.

But, in fact, sequestration, combined with the $487 bn First Tier BCA-mandated defense cuts, means cutting the defense budget deeply, by over 30% from FY2011 levels. Sequestration has now cut the defense budget down to $469 bn, from which bottom it will never recover for the remainder of the next decade. By FY2022, it will still be at a paltry $493 bn in today’s money, as opposed to $525 bn in FY2013 pre-sequestration.

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Sequestration itself requires cutting the defense budget by a full $550 bn from FY2013 pre-sequestration levels. Such a deep cut – $55 bn every year – requires deep reductions in every part of the military, from personnel, to training, to operations and the maintenance of existing equipment and bases, to the development and acquisition of military equipment.

No, Mr Greenhut, this is not a modest cut. Sequestration, if it is continued, will, with previous Obama defense cuts, actually represent the deepest (and fastest) cuts to America’s defense since the 1950s.

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Greenhut’s claim that the military is “unlikely to shrink anytime soon”, like the IRS, is also utterly false. In fact, already because of previous Obama defense cuts, the ground force has to shrink by 100,000 men, while the Navy is on track to shrink below 280 ships and the Air Force has retired hundreds of aircraft since 2009, and plans to retire further scores of planes. And that is before sequestration is taken into account at all.

If sequestration stays, the Navy will shrink to just 230 ships, the Army to its smallest since since 1940, the Marines to just 150,000 men, and the Air Force will have to cut its bomber and fighter fleets by one third, according to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and HASC Republicans.

With such a small size, the US military won’t be able to defend even America itself – let alone its overseas interests, critical supply routes, allies, or the world’s commons (seas, airspace, outer space, cyberspace).

Greenhut implies that the US military hasn’t shrunk since the end of the Cold War. This is also utterly false. The US military, at just 1.4 mn active duty personnel, and with 75% fewer nuclear weapons and delivery systems and far fewer aircraft, ships, missiles, and ground vehicles, is far smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War.

Greenhut’s screed is a litany of blatant anti-defense lies straight from liberal playbooks. By publishing it, HumanEvents has finally shown its true face and proven that it is no longer a conservative publication by any measure. By doing so, it has proven it is a stridently liberal trash paper not worth anyone’s attention or money. All conservatives should boycott it.

Shame on Greenhut for writing such a ridiculous screed, and shame on HumanEvents for publishing it.

Most Americans OPPOSE defense spending cuts

The U.S. Army (CC)

Another leftist myth has been debunked and shown to be a farce: the myth that a majority of Americans support deep defense spending cuts.

You may remember, folks, that last year, the University of Maryland and the extremely leftist “Center for Public Integrity” commissioned a rigged poll which claimed that 66% of Americans supported cutting defense spending to the tune of $100 bn per year. Anti-defense groups such as the misnamed, Soros-funded “Project on Government Oversight”, and anti-defense writers such as Micah Zenko falsely claimed on that basis that most Americans support deep defense spending cuts, including sequestration.

There were, however, other polls saying something completely different, including one by the National Journal and one commissioned by the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Then, earlier this year, Pew conducted a poll showing that 73% of Americans oppose any cuts to defense spending (and similar percentages oppose cutting anything else).

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And most recently, Gallup has released a poll showing that 36% of Americans believe the US spends the right amount of money on defense and another 26% think the US, if anything, isn’t spending enough – so in total, 62% of Americans oppose cutting defense. According to Gallup, only 35% of Americans think the US spends too much.

Moreover, the “don’t cut defense spending” view is held even more widely among the Independent and Republican electorates. 73% of Indies and 78% of Republicans share this pro-defense view, believing the US spends the right amount or an insufficient one.

Only among the Democrats does a majority think the US spends too much – and even among them, it’s barely a majority (51%). See here for details.

Gallup’s poll’s results mean that there is NO popular demand for defense cuts today, unlike the Vietnam War years and the late 1980s. All of that despite over 40 years of uncessant anti-defense leftist propaganda (particularly intense in the last 5 years). Gallup tells us that:

  • “In the late 1960s and early 1970s as the United States was fighting the Vietnam War, Americans’ dominant view was that the U.S. was spending too much on defense.
  • In 1981, just after Ronald Reagan took office after making concerns about U.S. military strength in light of the Iranian hostage situation and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan a major theme of his presidential campaign, Americans shifted to the view that too little was spent on defense.
  • As the Reagan administration built up military spending in the 1980s, Americans again came to believe the U.S. was spending too much in this area.
  • Near the end of the Clinton administration, as the government made an effort to reduce military spending and George W. Bush’s presidential campaign questioned U.S. military strength, an increasing number of Americans said the United States was spending too little on defense.
  • In the first several years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which included U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans most commonly said defense spending was “about right.”
  • Over the last five years, Americans have alternated in their views between believing the U.S. spends too much and believing it spends the right amount on defense, including this year, when roughly equal percentages of Americans hold each view.”

But what Gallup doesn’t tell us is that, in addition to the 36% of Americans who think the level of defense spending is “about right”, another 26% think the US isn’t spending enough, meaning that 62% of Americans – almost two-thirds of the society – oppose defense cuts.

This debunks yet another myth being spread by the left. Not only is defense spending NOT bloated, not only would deep cuts to it severely weaken the military (as sequestration is already beginning to do), not only would such cuts utterly fail to meaningfully reduce the budget deficit or attract new voters to the GOP, but also they are very unpopular: the vast majority of Americans OPPOSE them. There is NO popular demand for such policy, unlike the Vietnam War years – the time of the “guns vs butter” debates – and the late 1980s.

Not only that, but in contrast to the Vietnam War years and the 1970s, the US military is now held by the majority of the public, including 54% of young Americans, in very high regard.

Internet Taxation

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Relaxed Wisdom

Relaxed Wisdom

Today 21 Republican Senators vote to tax Americans even more, while five Democrats voted against higher taxes.

Shame on those republicans, and applause for those five Democrats.

Those Republicans that are worthy of scorn are listed below. When they begin bragging about how wonderful they are and attempt to distract you with lies, don’t buy into their deceit. They will sell you a lot of snake oil, but in the end they will strike with venom again and again.

Sessions (R-AL)

Shelby (R-AL)
Boozman (R-AR)
McCain (R-AZ)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Isakson (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Collins (R-ME)
Blunt (R-MO)
Cochran (R-MS)
Wicker (R-MS)
Burr (R-NC)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Fischer (R-NE)
Johanns (R-NE)
Portman (R-OH)
Graham (R-SC)
Thune (R-SD)
Alexander (R-TN)
Corker (R-TN)
Enzi (R-WY)

The five Democrats with a proper vote are

 

Baucus (D-MT)
Tester (D-MT)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Merkley (D-OR)
Wyden (D-OR)

America is taxed enough.  Anyone with any common sense knows the federal government is one of the most wasteful organizations in the world.  Taxes should be cut until the government learns how to manage its business in a responsible manner.

I hope everyone that believes in the dignity of this nation will call their senators as many time as possible demanding better of them.

It’s Always Christmas If You’re a Politician

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

What is it about an elected official that compels rich people to want to give him gifts? Do they look needy? Hungry? Depressed? Is there a secret gift registry of which I’m unaware? Could it be a mentoring program where plutocrats adopt a middle–class governor or attorney general and show them how capitalism has paid off? Sort of a rescue program except no Labradors are involved?

Any of those reasons are an improvement over the suspicions of my wife. She believes the gifts are given because the recipients hold high public office and it might come in handy for a rich person to have a governor or attorney general in their pocket. So she is disappointed in Ken Cuccinelli. Again. And that goes for me, too.

For those of you who don’t follow Virginia politics, Ken Cuccinelli is the Tea Party–backed Republican attorney general who filed the first court case against Obamacare. He also fought the EPA on job–killing regulations. And the AG filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the papers “global warming” guru Michael Mann used to get grants while he was at the University of Virginia.

I was first disappointed in Cuccinelli when he broke a promise to serve two terms as AG and not run for governor after his first. Details are here. Now Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell are enmeshed within a gift controversy brought on in large part by McDonnell’s failure to use his head and Cuccinelli’s failure to use his ballpoint.

The nexus of the scandal is Jonnie R. Williams, Sr. who runs Star Scientific, a former cigarette company that has progressed from selling cancer to marketing Anatabloc a nutritional supplement made from a substance found in tobacco. Anatabloc is used to fight inflammation and its also contained in facial cream where it may help to remove wrinkles caused by smoking.

Williams is a new BFF that both Cuccinelli and McDonnell have known for about five years. (Hmmm that’s just about the time they’ve been in office, but it must surely be a coincidence.) Williams gave $15,000 to McDonnell’s daughter so she could pay the ‘Let ‘em Eat Cake’ catering bill at her wedding. Williams has also given the family free use of his vacation home at Smith Mountain Lake and let the governor drive his Ferrari back to Richmond from that same vacation spread in Western Virginia. All told William’s publicly disclosed gifts to McDonnell and his political action committee come to over $120,000.

And it’s all perfectly legal. I just hope the wedding catering smelled better than the rest of the gifts. In fact, the catering started the scandal ball rolling, because McDonnell didn’t declare the gift, since it went to his daughter. I mean, what’s out of the ordinary about some BFF you’ve known since 2009 dropping 15 gees on your daughter’s wedding? It sure beats a blender.

Now FBI agents are investigating the relationship between the governor, his wife Maureen (who has promoted Anatabloc) and Williams to see if there was a quid pro quo.

Once the media started following the foie gras the trail led to Cuccinelli. He hasn’t had any weddings recently — although with a brood his size it’s only a matter of time — but he did invest in Star Scientific stock after meeting Williams. I’m sure he thought it was a great opportunity. Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds had such great success with dietary supplements, what could possibly go wrong?

Cuccinelli also stayed at the Smith Mountain vacation home twice, accepted $6,700 worth of Anatabloc, took a flight to New York, borrowed Williams’ boat, took a trip to Kentucky, stayed at Williams’ house near Richmond, ate a Williams’ provided turkey dinner and was surprised to discover he owned over $10,000 in Star Scientific stock.

Many of these gifts and the stock were not reported promptly on disclosure forms. It’s appears Cuccinelli is a lawyer, but he’s not good with details and paperwork.

The worst part of this mess is that none of it had to happen. Conservatives were convinced Cuccinelli was different. He wouldn’t fall prey to the pitfalls of influence and influencers. But he did. And because he did, Cuccinelli is dealing with a campaign issue that never should have happened and one that sullies his reputation for ethics and honesty.

Delusional Democrats are fantasizing that the controversy may force McDonnell to resign. This is very unlikely, not the least because the events don’t rise to the level of a major scandal. But if McDonnell did resign, it would restore a disenchanted Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s faith in Providence. At the stroke of a pen Bolling would get to be governor without running a primary campaign, and even better he would be governor before Ken Cuccinelli!

Meanwhile I have some practical gift receiving advice for Cuccinelli and other conservative politicians who — I hope — don’t want to lose touch with the Americans that elected them:

  1. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ you made after you left high school unless it comes with a receipt, preferably from Wal–Mart.
  2. Don’t buy stock in a ‘friend’s’ hot company if you didn’t know him in high school.
  3. Even if you knew him in high school, don’t take any gifts from a company with ‘science’ in the name that isn’t run by someone in a lab coat.
  4. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ who owns a company that the SEC, FEC, IRS, FDA or the PTA is investigating.
  5. Don’t hitch a ride on an airplane, yacht or submarine owned by a stranger you met after high school, unless you all chip in for gas.
  6. Don’t accept free vacation housing from a ‘friend’ you met after high school, unless it’s a tent.
  7. Don’t offer to valet park a ‘friend’s’ Ferrari if you have to drive it more than 200 yards.

GDP Growth Increasing 3% In July – Not Because Of Obama Policy Change



gdp
What is this thing called Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? It is everything produced by all the people and all the companies in the US and in the world. Key upon the word “produced” in the preceding sentence. Until now, the word “produced” referred to the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year. But the definition of “produced” will change in July of this year.

Being generous and not including negative GDP growth that occurred during the first three quarters of Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama’s first reign (er, term), the GDP growth rate has been 2.12 percent, not something to crow about. The GDP growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2012, after Obama was re-elected, was a whopping 0.4 percent.

However, in July 2013, there will be a world-wide redefinition of the GDP, of what is produced. Government statistics will take into account components such as film royalties and spending on research and development. Billions of dollars of intangible assets will enter the GDP of the US economy. The redefinition is expected to add about three percent to the GDP growth rate. Brent Moulton, manager of national accounts at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, said:

“We’re capitalising research and development and also this category referred to as entertainment, literary and artistic originals, which would be things like motion picture originals, long-lasting television programmes, books and sound recordings. At present, R&D counts as a cost of doing business, so the final output of Apple iPads is included in GDP but the research done to create them is not. R&D will now count as an investment, adding a bit more than 2 per cent to the measured size of the economy.”

Redefinition is fine. Just remember that apples should not be compared to oranges. But that minor technicality won’t phase Obama. I’m betting that Obama and his economic team will take credit for the GDP growth increase. He and they will conveniently forget to mention the definition change, will instead trumpet their policies as the reason for the growth. And we can expect the MSM to go right along with him. There is, after all, precedent. Look at what the MSM did with unemployment numbers – particularly just before the 2012 election.

But (and there is always a “but” when Obama is involved), the GDP growth rate will be in excess of five percent, well above what economists say is the “ideal” growth rate of about 2 to 3 percent per year. Too much GDP growth causes inflation. Expect economists to change the definition of “ideal” in order to support Obama.

So, come July, when the GDP growth rate jumps due to some accounting miracle, just remember that the economy is not really heating up. Rather remember what is actually going on, that Obama’s economic policies have not changed.

H/T to Tom, who called the GDP situation to my attention.

But that’s just my opinion
Please visit RWNO, my personal, very conservative web site!

JCPenney is back – JCP is out

jcpenney

Early last February, JCPenney rolled out its “Fair and Square Everyday Pricing Plan”. It didn’t take long for push back from consumers, analysts, and just about everyone with an opinion, either. The primary complaints weren’t limited to the new pricing program, because in addition to price tag changes, the department store started radically changing floor-plans and reduced product selection in many locations. Couple that with the fact that consumers weren’t necessarily enthusiastic about shopping in general due to the economy, and it was a near disastrous combination for the corporation.

While JCPenney got at least a temporary reprieve from the Martha Stewart branding debacle with Macy’s, that doesn’t come close to undoing the damage by recently ousted CEO, Ron Johnson. They can console themselves at least a little that the dismissal cost them a paltry $148,924, but in all fairness (pun intended), that number should include the 25% losses in sales, and the 50% drop in stock values. Hindsight is 20/20, and one can only wonder now why JCPenney would think that Johnson could have helped to boost their sales the same way did with Apple stores. Comparing the two is like the proverbial comparison of “apples and oranges” – Apple products enjoy a base of loyal consumers that buy products simply because they are manufactured by the electronics giant. It’s also abundantly clear that it was huge mistake to give Johnson free reign to make changes to the department store’s brick and mortar operations at will. It’s been argued that he was fixing something that wasn’t broken, and should have been focusing on online sales.

So, to rectify all of this, JCPenney may very well be making another big mistake by bringing back former CEO, Myron Ullman. Nothing says a company has learned its lesson about past mistakes like bringing back someone that failed to address problems previously, even if that person could be considered the “lesser of two evils.” Yes, the colossal mistakes made by Johnson need to be rolled back, and it probably won’t hurt the bottom line at least temporarily, to appease consumers that were annoyed with the radical changes by assuring them that it will be going back to “business as usual.” But, if the future plans don’t include a sincere effort to compete in the online market, JCPenney can’t count on a long-term recovery. And that brings us to “the apology” ad campaign:

The transcript:

It’s no secret, recently JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you. To hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to JCPenney, we heard you. Now, we’d love to see you.

The commercial encourages consumers to visit the corporate Facebook page, to offer their feedback. A quick review of their interactions with the public isn’t particularly encouraging though. Visitor comments run hot and cold, with quite a few consumers making suggestions about the company returning to old practices. But, this is Facebook, and it’s likely that responses would be radically different on other social media sites. Many of the comments are from older consumers, and while they are important to consider, the reality of the situation is that building a marketing plan based on feedback from age-limited niche will be yet another disaster. Bluntly, particularly if catering to Baby Boomers, that is a recipe for short-term success followed by a precipitous drop and flat-line. It can’t be assumed that JCPenney will be smart enough to avoid this either, since they’ve opted to re-hire Ullman. Only time will tell where this all leads, but if the past is any indication, consumers will get one thing they tend to enjoy for at least a little while – going out of business sales.

Rebuttal of the 6 most popular myths about nuclear weapons

megoizzy (CC)

As it continues to campaign for deep cuts in America’s defenses, the Left has particularly aimed its arrows at the US nuclear deterrent, which protect America and over 30 of its allies against the most catastrophic threats: a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack; a large-scale conventional attack; and nuclear proliferation. It is the most effective nonproliferation program ever enacted.

It is falsely claimed that:

1)      Nuclear weapons are irrelevant in the 21st century security environment. They are relics of the Cold War.

2)      A “world without nuclear weapons” is both realistically attainable and desirable.

3)      The nuclear triad is too expensive and not worth the cost.

4)      The entire nuclear arsenal is too expensive and siphons money away from other defense programs.

5)      Conventional weapons, missile defense systems, and cyberweapons can replace nuclear weapons in a very wide range of missions and scenarios and against the vast majority of targets.

6)      The fewer nuclear weapons the US has, the better; cutting America’s nuclear deterrent makes America safer.

Let’s deal with these myths one after another.

Myth #1: Nuclear weapons are irrelevant in the 21st century security environment. They are relics of the Cold War.

The facts: Nuclear weapons are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century security environment. They protect America and all of its allies against the following three, potentially catastrophic, security threats: a nuclear/chemical/biological attack, a large-scale conventional attack, and nuclear proliferation.

megoizzy (CC)

megoizzy (CC)


The US nuclear arsenal is the most effective counter-proliferation program ever created. It has discouraged all of America’s allies except Britain and France from developing nuclear weapons, reassuring them that they don’t need to do so because the US provides a powerful nuclear umbrella to them. Such an umbrella is ESPECIALLY needed now – more than ever – given the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be. Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 700 warheads to the middle of America.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver 1,274 of them. Among these are almost 70 ICBMs, 120-140 MRBMs, over 1,600 SRBMs, dozens of land-attack cruise missiles, six ballistic missile submarines, and 440 nuclear-capable aircraft. While the vast majority of its SRBMs and cruise missiles are reportedly conventionally-armed at present, they could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime, which is called “breakout capability.”

Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has announced it will grow) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday.

Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far.

Myth #2: A “world without nuclear weapons” is both realistically attainable and desirable. 

The facts: A world without nuclear weapons (“Global Zero”) is neither achievable nor desirable. Not achievable, because no other country in the world is following America’s disarmament “example” (and foreign countries don’t care about America’s “examples”; they care only about their self-interest). No other country is following the US on the road to “Global Zero”. Accordingly, there will NEVER be a world without nuclear weapons.

Russia has recently declared it will not cut its nuclear arsenal nor enter into any negotiations to that end. It is actually building UP its arsenal (as allowed to do so by the New START) and modernizing it. China, which has up to 3,000 nuclear warheads, is also rapidly building up and modernizing its arsenal, and refusing to even disclose its size or enter into any talks – let alone formal treaty negotiations – about it. Likewise, India and Pakistan refuse to join the Nonproliferation Treaty, disclose the size of their arsenals, or enter into any talks – let alone arms control treaties – pertaining to these arsenals. Ditto North Korea, which has recently announced it will NEVER give up its nuclear arsenal and that, if anything, it will INCREASE its size and restart the Yongboyng reactor to harvest plutonium from spent fuel rods.

So NO nuclear power wants to join the West in its suicidal nuclear disarmament quest. None whatsoever. Not Russia, not China, not India and Pakistan, not North Korea. And, of course, Iran is racing towards nuclear power status.

Even Bruce Blair, a supporter of America’s nuclear disarmament, testified recently before the House Armed Services Committee on March 19th that even if America cut its nuclear arsenal deeply, e.g. along the lines of what his organization (Global Zero) proposes, NOBODY would reciprocate. (1:04:41)

Which is true – Russia, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, etc., are all refusing to even cut, let alone eliminate, their nuclear arsenals. Obama has NO followers on the road to his totally unrealistic goal of “global zero”. There will never be a “global zero.”

Nuclear weaponry is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle. It cannot be “un-invented” or banished from the face of the Earth, contrary to the unrealistic dreams of several US Presidents, including Ronald Reagan (this shows that, alas, Reagan wasn’t perfect and had some flaws).

Nor would a “nuclear-free world” be safer and more peaceful than it is now, contrary to Obama’s false claims that the US should “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” On the contrary, it would be less peaceful and secure.

Humanity lived through “Global Zero” – in a world without nukes – for almost its entire history from its dawn to 1945. During that time, there were numerous and horribly destructive wars between the great powers of the time, each one leading to huge casualties among combatants and civilians and to great destruction. Examples included the Peloponesian war, Rome’s wars of conquest, the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War, the Seven Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and of course, the two World Wars. Not to mention the numerous bloody civil wars such as those in the US (1861-1865) and Russia (1918-1923).

5 million people, including 1 million Frenchmen, died in the Napoleonic Wars. Proportionally to the populations of today, that would be 50 million Europeans, including 10 million Frenchmen. French casualties in these wars were 14% higher than in WW1. In that war alone, about 10 million people died; in World War 2, over 60 million, and its perpetrators attempted the extermination of entire nations (peoples) and even races. The sheer barbarity and murder witnessed during that war is unmatched by any conflict before or after that war.

Since 1945, however – the advent of nuclear weapons – there has been NO war between the great powers. And it is mostly, if not entirely, because of nuclear weapons, which have moderated their behavior and forced them to accept coexistence with each other even if they have diametrically opposed ideologies. Nuclear weapons have taught them that even the most difficult compromise is better than a nuclear exchange.

Nuclear weapons have not ended war completely – no invention will ever do that – but they have eliminated great power wars. All wars since 1945 have been either between smaller, non-world-power countries (e.g. conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbors), or between a world power and a weaker country (e.g. Iraq, Vietnam), or between a country and an insurgency (e.g. the US vs the Taleban).

Such conflicts have a much smaller scale, body count, and destructive power than great power wars. Since WW2, there hasn’t been a conflict even approaching the sheer barbarity and destruction of WW2, and it is mostly, if not entirely, due to nuclear weapons.

Instead of seeking their scrapping, we should all learn to love them.

Myth #3: The nuclear triad is too expensive and not worth the cost.

The facts: The nuclear triad is NOT too expensive and is well worth the cost. The ICBM leg of the nuclear triad – the cheapest, most ready, most responsive, and most dispersed leg – costs only $1.1 bn per year to maintain; the bomber leg, only $2.5 bn per year. The entire nuclear arsenal, including all the warheads, missiles, bombers, submarines, supporting facilities, and personnel costs only $32-38 bn per year to maintain, which is only 6.3% of the entire military budget ($611 bn in FY2013, pre-sequestration).

For that low cost, taxpayers get a large, diverse, survivable nuclear triad capable of surviving even a large-scale first strike and of striking anywhere in the world with any needed measure of power. A triad that gives the President huge flexibility in where, when, and how to strike; a triad that keeps the enemy guessing as to how the US would retaliate.

As Robert Kaplan says, “Don’t give your enemy too few problems to solve because if you do, he’ll solve them.”

Without the ICBM leg, the enemy would have to destroy only 2 submarine bases, 3 bomber bases, and any SSBNs that would be on patrol. WITH the ICBM leg still existing, the enemy would also have to make sure he destroys every single USAF ICBM silo; there are 450, and the USAF may have built decoy siloes.

Numbers don’t lie. Liberals do.

Without a triad, the nuclear deterrent would’ve been much less survivable than it is. This will be even MORE important as the arsenal is cut to even lower, post-New-START, levels.

A nuclear triad is the most survivable and most flexible nuclear arsenal arrangement ever invented, which is why the US, Russia, China, and Israel all have it, and why India is developing it. The Air Force is also considering the development of a rail-mobile ICBM, which could be hidden in innocently-looking, civilian-style railroad cars.

Myth #4: The entire nuclear arsenal is too expensive and siphons money away from other defense programs.

The facts: According to the Stimson Center, maintaining the US nuclear deterrent costs ca. $32–36 bn per year, including all the warheads, delivery systems, support facilities, personnel, and nuclear-related intelligence. This is a paltry 5.872% of the FY2013 military budget ($613 bn per the FY2013 NDAA). Modernizing the nuclear arsenal will, according to Stimson, cost up to $390 bn over the next decade, i.e. $39 bn per year on average. This is 6.4% of the FY2013 military budget. These are microscoping percentages.

So the US provides a large nuclear umbrella to itself and to over 30 allies at a cost of only 6% of its total military budget.

Furthermore, even if the ENTIRE nuclear arsenal were scrapped IMMEDIATELY and UNILATERALLY today, that would “save” a paltry $36 bn per year and thus fail to come even close to paying for sequestration, let alone balancing the federal budget.

No, the US nuclear arsenal is not siphoning money away from anything. As usual, it’s a scapegoat for liberals.

It is, in fact, other, more costly defense programs that are siphoning money away from nuclear deterrence and other defense priorities. For example, the development and acquisition of 2,400 short-range, understealthed, slow, sluggish F-35 strike jets will cost $400 bn. A single aircraft carrier costs $15 bn, yet is tragically vulnerable to ballistic and cruise missiles, submarines, and naval mines. Yet, the biggest cost drivers in the defense budget are personnel programs (pay, benefits, healthcare, retirement, etc.), which, unless seriously reformed, will consume the ENTIRE defense budget by no later than FY2039. That means no money for nuclear deterrence or for weapons of any kind.

And while F-35s and aircraft carriers are increasingly and prohibitively expensive, they’re also increasingly vulnerable and useless for the threat environments the US military will have to operate in. Meanwhile, the next generation bomber will be able to strike from well over the horizon – even the CONUS – and submarines have always been stealthy. USAF ICBMs sit in hardened siloes, can strike any place on the planet, and may be replaced by rail-mobile ones (see above).

Myth #5: Conventional weapons, missile defense systems, and cyberweapons can replace nuclear weapons in a very wide range of missions and scenarios and against the vast majority of targets.

The facts: Such claims are preposterous. None of these weapons have anything even close to the destructive, crippling power of atomic weapons.

Conventional weapons utterly lack such power. Even the most powerful conventional bombs – MOABs and the now-retired Daisy Cutters – have the explosive power approaching only that of the lowest-yield nuclear warheads, and MOAB is not even designed to penetrate anything.

Cyberweapons can shut down computer networks, but only temporarily, and can’t physically destroy anything. Buildings, vehicles, warships, aircraft, and humans will still exist. Cyberweapons can only complement other types of arms, but never replace them.

Nor can missile defense ever replace nuclear weapons. It has long been an article of faith among conservatives, including conservative think-tank analysts, that it can, but the truth is that it can’t. This truth will be uncomfortable for them, but my job as defense analysts is to tell people the truth, not what they want to hear.

Missile defense technology is still in its infancy. Moreover, one needs several interceptors to shoot down one missile. For example, to shoot down one Russian ICBM would take 7 ground-based interceptors of the type deployed in AK and CA. US missile defense systems (except the PATRIOT) have never been tested in massive missile barrages – the type of missile attacks the US will actually have to counter.

Furthermore, BMD systems’ ability to distinguish real warheads from decoys is yet unclear, and there are no systems available for boost-phase interception. But worst of all, BMD interceptors are far more expensive than the ballistic missiles they’re designed to intercept. A THAAD missile costs $9-10 mn; an SM-3, $10 mn; a ground-based interceptor, $70 mn. It is far cheaper to build and launch ballistic missiles than to intercept them. Furthermore, America’s enemies already have such huge inventories of BMs of all types – measured in thousands – that they are and will always be able to overwhelm American BMD systems through sheer numbers.

The best way to protect against missiles of any kind is to kill the archer, not the arrow. Only “offensive” systems – strike systems – can do that. This includes ICBMs, SLBMs, cruise missiles, bombers, and theater strike aircraft.

Myth #6: The fewer nuclear weapons the US has, the better; cutting America’s nuclear deterrent makes America safer.

The facts: These claims are also completely false. No nation in history has become more secure by disarming itself – whether uni-, bi-, or multilaterally. No nation in history has increased its security by indulging in arms reduction and disarmament – such policies have only weakened, and reduced the security of, the  nations practicing them.

Myth #6 is, in fact, an utter rejection of any principle or notion of deterrence or of peace through strength; it turns these principles upside down. Myth #6 is essentially a claim that weakness is good and leads to peace and security; that weakening one’s own military (and that’s what cutting its arsenals of weapons does – it weakens the military) makes one more secure and the world more peaceful.

Many variations of this myth have been uttered by the Left. For example, during the forementioned HASC Strategic Forces Subcommitteee hearing, its ranking member, Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee, an ardent enemy of nuclear weapons, claimed that the biggest cut in America’s nuclear deterrent – made by the elder President Bush in the early 1990s – was “a good thing”, that it made America and the world more secure and peaceful, and that this is supposedly shared by the “mainstream” of American opinion. Another strident leftist, John Garamendi (D-CA), claimed that “whatever we can do to cut nuclear arsenals – here, in North Korea, around the world”  is a good thing.

Their claims are blatant lies, of course. As I’ve already stated, no nation in history has become more secure by disarming itself, and America won’t be the first. President Bush’s deep unilateral cut in America’s deterrent is a textbook example of that. He cut the arsenal by almost half, withdrew US nuclear weapons from Korea and from surface warships unilaterally, terminated MX ICBM production and B-2 bomber production at just 21 aircraft, terminated the Midgetman SRBM, and terminated warhead production and testing.

Yet, no one else has reciprocated. Since then, China has dramatically increased its nuclear arsenal – to at least 1,800 and up to 3,000 warheads – while North Korea and Pakistan joined the nuclear club, India and these two countries have conducted nuclear tests, and Iran has made dramatic progress towards nuclear weapon capability. Russia has begun rebuilding and modernizing its arsenal.

So Bush’s deep nuclear cuts only weakened America’s deterrent (and confidence in it) while utterly failing to discourage others from developing or increasing their own arsenals. Two new states have joined the nuclear club, others have conducted tests, and Iran is well on its way there.

That’s because cutting America’s nuclear deterrent DOES NOTHING to prevent or even slow down nuclear proliferation or encourage others to disarm themselves. It is perceived (correctly) as a sign of American weakness and appeasement. It only emboldens America’s enemies while leading America’s allies to doubt the US umbrella. It does NOTHING, and will never do anything, to eliminate or even reduce the arsenals of other powers.

Other nuclear (and aspiring) powers don’t care about America’s “example” or observance of arms control treaties; they care only about their own military strength and see nuclear weapons as a key element of that. America has NO followers on the road to “Global Zero” – which other nuclear powers simply DON’T want to travel. Even Bruce Blair has admitted at 1:04:41 that even if the US totally disarmed itself, NO ONE would follow suit.

Thus, we have refuted all of the 6 most popular leftist lies about nuclear weapons. It is impossible (and not even necessary) to refute all myths that have been made about these crucial instruments of deterrence; and the vast majority of the lies about them fall under one of these 6 categories.

Nuclear weapons are NOT a threat to America’s or the world’s security; on the contrary, they are key to preserving it far into the future. They are irreplaceable instruments of peace and deterrence.

Ford Motor Company U.S. Sales Up 18 Percent

2013 Lincoln MKZ

Ford Fusion, Ford Escape and new Lincoln MKZ Set Sales Records

DEARBORN, Mich., May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Ford Motor Company April U.S. sales up 18 percent compared to last year – best April sales since 2007, with cars up 21 percent, utilities up 16 percent and trucks up 16 percent
  • Fusion and Escape both establish April sales records, with sales increases of 24 and 52 percent respectively
  • F-Series, America’s best-selling pickup for 36 years, posts a 24 percent increase, with sales of 59,030 – best April sales results since 2006
  • Lincoln overall sales up 21 percent; MKZ delivers its best monthly sales performance ever – with April sales passing the 4,000 vehicle mark for the first time in MKZ history

Ford’s April sales climbed 18 percent with gains across the portfolio – with cars up 21 percent, utilities up 16 percent, and trucks up 16 percent. Retail sales were up 27 percent.

“We are working harder than ever to keep pace with record demand for our all-new, fuel-efficient Fusion and Escape – with sales growth particularly strong on the coasts,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “F-Series pickups also continue to build on their momentum as the housing and construction industries rebound.”

Fusion continues its strong sales run with best-ever April sales results of 26,722 vehicles, a 24 percent increase over record year-ago April levels. The strongest retail sales increases for Fusion continue to come from the western and southeastern U.S. – with the sales in the West doubling in April and the Southeast up 70 percent.

Escape also had its strongest April sales since its launch 13 years ago, reporting a 52 percent increase with 25,826 vehicles sold.

Sales of America’s best-selling pickup, the Ford F-Series increased 24 percent, with 59,030 pickups sold. This represents F-Series best April sales results since 2006. It also is the 21st straight monthly sales increase for F-Series – with sales up 19 percent year to date.

In April, Lincoln sales increased 21 percent. The new Lincoln MKZ established an all-time monthly sales record, with 4,012 vehicles sold for the month – breaking the 4,000 vehicle mark for the first time ever.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY APRIL 2013 U.S. SALES
April % Year-To-Date %
2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
SALES BY BRAND
  Ford 204,969 174,042 17.8 787,553 692,453 13.7
  Lincoln 7,615 6,308 20.7 23,514 27,144 -13.4
    Total Vehicles 212,584 180,350 17.9 811,067 719,597 12.7
SALES BY TYPE
  Cars 78,513 64,789 21.2 289,949 257,814 12.5
  Utilities 59,089 50,724 16.5 237,561 201,139 18.1
  Trucks 74,982 64,837 15.6 283,557 260,644 8.8
    Total Vehicles 212,584 180,350 17.9 811,067 719,597 12.7
FORD BRAND
Fiesta 6,080 5,135 18.4 22,108 20,657 7.0
Focus 22,557 19,425 16.1 84,455 85,468 -1.2
C-MAX 3,608 0 NA 13,285 0 NA
Fusion 26,722 21,610 23.7 107,280 85,559 25.4
Taurus 5,887 6,664 -11.7 22,871 21,535 6.2
Police Interceptor Sedan 1,166 547 113.2 3,624 575 530.3
Mustang 7,751 7,801 -0.6 25,071 27,934 -10.2
Crown Victoria 0 372 -100.0 0 2,044 -100.0
  Ford Cars 73,771 61,554 19.8 278,694 243,772 14.3
Escape 25,826 16,986 52.0 98,809 75,590 30.7
Edge 10,357 10,520 -1.5 41,891 43,428 -3.5
Flex 1,808 2,724 -33.6 7,252 9,531 -23.9
Explorer 14,204 13,419 5.8 62,853 47,037 33.6
Police Interceptor Utility 1,236 667 85.3 3,784 694 445.2
Expedition 2,785 3,335 -16.5 10,713 11,757 -8.9
  Ford Utilities 56,216 47,651 18.0 225,302 188,037 19.8
F-Series 59,030 47,453 24.4 227,873 191,280 19.1
Ranger 0 1,990 -100.0 0 15,919 -100.0
E-Series 12,573 11,810 6.5 40,212 41,004 -1.9
Transit Connect 2,779 2,892 -3.9 13,205 10,324 27.9
Heavy Trucks 600 692 -13.3 2,267 2,117 7.1
  Ford Trucks 74,982 64,837 15.6 283,557 260,644 8.8
  Ford Brand 204,969 174,042 17.8 787,553 692,453 13.7
April % Year-To-Date %
2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
LINCOLN BRAND
MKZ 4,012 1,863 115.4 7,770 8,944 -13.1
MKS 730 1,298 -43.8 3,485 4,585 -24.0
Town Car 0 74 -100.0 0 513 -100.0
Lincoln Cars 4,742 3,235 46.6 11,255 14,042 -19.8
MKX 1,740 1,882 -7.5 7,806 8,309 -6.1
MKT 453 654 -30.7 1,946 2,139 -9.0
Navigator 680 537 26.6 2,507 2,654 -5.5
Lincoln Utilities 2,873 3,073 -6.5 12,259 13,102 -6.4
  Lincoln Brand 7,615 6,308 20.7 23,514 27,144 -13.4

SOURCE: Ford Motor Company

More states making move to gold, silver as legal tender

gold as legal tender

gold as legal tenderArizona senators voted 18-10 on Tuesday to pass a measure that would make gold and silver legal for use as tender for payment.

Earlier this month the same legislation cleared the Arizona House which leaves only Governor Jan Brewer’s signature before it becomes law.

While U.S. currency will continue to be accepted in the Grand Canyon State, the new bill allows gold and silver coins and bullion to be used beginning mid-2014.

Utah passed a similar law in 2011. Kansas, South Carolina and several other states are advancing similar bills.

While Utah and Arizona’s legislation is little more than symbolic, other states are eyeing infrastructure projects key to allowing precious metals to be used as legal tender.

Texas legislators are considering a measure to create the Texas Bullion Depository that would store about $1 Billion in gold currently held in a New York facility. The new facility would also function as a place for public deposits which would create a realistic medium for trade similar to blacksmiths’ and bankers’ handling of the precious metal in earlier times. Money could be deposited for one or more “depository notes” which could be traded for goods and services. The person receiving the notes in trade could then turn it in to the depository for gold. The notes would likely be backed by the State government and its gold holdings.

While the U.S. Constitution prevents states from coining money, it also says that states may not “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts” a phrase likely opening the door for states to pass these precious metal currency bills.

The States’ moves are seen as a response to the Federal Reserve’s constant dumping of liquidity into the American economy thereby devaluing the dollar and, as many believe, leading to the collapse of the U.S. paper money.

While some states may be taking action as a symbolic nose-thumbing at the Fed, others are clearly planning for the potential downfall of the dollar.

Happy Days! Twinkies to Return Soon!

Hostess_twinkies

Hostess_twinkiesNo need to test the longevity of your Twinkies purchased pre company breakup, your favorite snack may be back on the shelves as soon as July!

A Columbus, Georgia Dolly Madison plant is scheduled to be up and running by July. The reformulated Hostess Brands expects the most popular products to be back on the shelves this summer.

In a bankruptcy forced liquidation Hostess due in part to a lengthy impasse by striking workers, the brand and five of the bakeries were bought in a joint venture by two private equity companies.

The Dolly Madison plant in Columbus, Ga., will be the first to reopen. The ‘new’ bakery is inviting former workers to apply for positions. There has been no talk of unions in the new company.

In its new iteration, the company will hire 200 workers for jobs starting this summer. Another 100 jobs will follow. Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said her town is better off with the opportunities — whether they’re union or not.

“I think we’re very happy to have the jobs back; 300 jobs is better than zero jobs,” she said.

Read more at CNN Money.

Optimizing Your Dollar: It’s Not Used; It’s Retro

vintage

Isn’t it nice when being stylish is also being economical? This week as you look for ways to optimize your dollar think optimize your dollar 1about ‘used’ clothes. Thrift stores and consignment shops have lost their negative connotations, instead becoming the new trendy way to shop. Here are several ideas for your consideration.

When my son was born we had a neighborhood second-hand shop where one could pick up baby clothes for a quarter the original price. My friend, who introduced me to the shop, helped me realize that babies often outgrow their clothes, sometimes even before they’ve been worn. We found many cute outfits for practically nothing.

The timing between my son and my sister’s oldest introduced me to yet another way to save as I was able to pack up many of my son’s outgrown clothes passing them on to my nephew. A few years later, when my daughter was born, sis passed back the hardly worn outfits and a cycle was born. We shared clothes until my daughter finally realized she was wearing ‘boy jeans’ which she didn’t think was appropriate.

vintage

Sporting her most popular vintage dress

Today, used clothes are considered vintage, unique and one of a kind garments. Fortunately for us, my sister switched from sharing the boys hand-me-downs to her own. As my daughter grew she regularly inherited distinctive items from my sister’s closet.  There were many pluses to these classic outfits, key among them to a teenager, that no one else would be wearing the same thing. And more exciting to her is when someone would compliment a dress; wanting to know where she found it…She loved explaining that her outfit was vintage and not available at the local store. Nothing like being a teen fashionista and knowing no one else can copy you.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the down economy but a ‘find’ from a thrift shop has become a trendy bragging point.  Rather than being uncomfortable revealing their shopping habits, family and friends are choosing to share their great deals.  Just last month visiting family divulged they had found much sought after, and generally high dollar, area sports shirts for a super bargain price at the local resale store. Another friend enthusiastically disclosed that she always searched for high dollar brand name jeans at the consignment shop first.

Recently my daughter was noting a cute outfit worn by a friend. The friend was eager to tell her that she and her mom had gone ‘thrift store shopping’ over the weekend. She got her whole coordinated look for just $12. As the friend told my daughter, “They’re not used; they’re retro.”

Employment situation still dicey as more jobs lost than expected

Initial jobless claims come in than economists had forecast showing a still weak jobs climate.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ending April 13th came in at a seasonally adjusted 352,000 which was slightly higher than expectations of 350,000 and an increase of 4,000 over last week’s numbers.

The employment market has not yet rebounded even four years into the President’s economic recovery plan that included multiple rounds of stimulus, cash-for-clunkers, the auto bailout and more.

The latest reports will likely feed into Federal Reserve considerations of whether to continue massive liquidity dumps including an $85 billion per month bond-buying program intended to keep interest rates low. The Fed has indicated that it will continue stimulus activities until the labor market recovers to acceptable levels.

With labor participation rates at 40 year lows, a recovery is likely far off.

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